Audit shows City of Austin spending more than $88K a year on pagers

The audit shows the City of Austin spends more than $ 88,000 per year on pagers

The report says that some city departments are not effectively managing pager users.

At a time when a smartphone is seemingly always in hand or pocket, the city of Austin is spending more than $ 88,000 on pagers.

The city introduced a pager system in 1999 and decided it was a reliable way to communicate with employees in an emergency. According to a report from the City Auditor’s Office, it is now said that the city managed the funds badly and lost the city money.

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“The city has not managed pagers effectively, resulting in unnecessary expense and potentially affecting the city’s ability to communicate in an emergency,” the auditors wrote.

This comes after the report found that many city workers don’t use their pagers, or even have one, and found that there is no “strategic way” to determine if key employees are connected to the system.

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The report says that some city departments are not effectively managing pager users. Because of this, the city has paid for services that are not used or are no longer needed. The report shows that in 2020 at least 90 active pager accounts in 14 departments were dedicated to employees who no longer work for the city, and one of those accounts was a former employee whose tenure with the city ended in 2011.

There were also accounts for employees who left between 2012 and 2019. The city estimates they lost $ 13,000 from these accounts.

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However, for employees and departments who use their pagers, it is found that 16% received more than 1,000 pages over a 5 month period in the past year. It was also found that 42% received fewer than five and 16% received no messages at all during that time.

Click here for the full report.

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